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Donald "Sam" Farley

December 31, 1924 January 5, 2020
Donald "Sam" Farley
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Obituary for Donald "Sam" Farley

Donald George “Sam” Farley died peacefully on January 5, 2020. He was 95 years old.

In addition to Eileen, his beloved wife of 65 years, he leaves his four children, Gary (Kay) Anderson, Donna (David) Gramlich, Laurel (Joel) Castiglione and Dan (Grace) Farley; eleven grandchildren, Holly (Gary) Fuchs, Kelly (Darren) Romano and Amy (Greg) Farmer, Emilie (Rick) Spooner, Greg (Cheryl) Gramlich and Courtney (Dan) Raupp, Jacob (Meaghan) Castiglione, Zachery (Ashley) Castiglione and Maxwell (Jennifer) Castiglione, Denton (Sydney Nagi) Farley and Delainy (Matt) Spencer; nineteen great-grandchildren, Abbie, Megan, Jillian, Tyler, Boden, Maxy, Drew, Riley, Anderson, Graham, Ruby, Paige, Matthew, Logan, Luke, Finola, Maeve, Amelia, and Mason; his nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly, and many dear friends.

Donald George Farley was born on New Year’s Eve 1924 in Pontiac, Michigan. Don was the youngest son in a family of 3 sons and 2 daughters, born with twinkling eyes and a sense of humor to match. Blanche Farley was alone giving birth while his father Purl fetched the doctor. She told the tale of how she stroked his head as the bells of New Years were ringing. Grandpa’s comment upon his return “my God Mother, what have you done.?!”

Don grew up on Loon Lake in Wixom, Michigan. He spent much of his time hunting, trapping and fishing. He inherited a love of the outdoors and a green thumb. He taught his children to hunt and fish. Dan and Daddy ran a trap line when Dan was young and us girls (especially Mother) were less than pleased to find muskrats amongst our frozen foods or fish heads and animal hides drying on boards in the basement.

As a young man Donald was industrious and adventuresome. He started a paper route at 12 years old and by the time he was 14 had advanced to area leader managing several paper routes in and around the Pontiac/Walled Lake area. Managing such a territory was hard work and so to ensure quality and timely delivery Don purchased his first automobile and taught himself to drive at 14. He drove until he was almost 94 and cherished his independence.

He loved to tell stories of his driving exploits. Once he was riding in the jumper seat, when his buddy rolled the convertible. He popped up to thinking the worst to see his buddy emerge from the car. Whew! They hitch hiked to his friend’s Dad’s garage to get a tow truck and pulled themselves out of the ditch.

He loved his friends and got his nickname while carousing with them. It seems that they all picked a name to keep out of trouble with their folks as their reputations for fun grew. As a child I thought everyone adopted a nickname like Baldy, Zeke or Sam. He finally accepted the inevitable, put the name on his truck and that was that. “Sam” stuck with Daddy until the day he died.

He learned to fly in his brother Bill’s airplane. Bill would let Don fly the plane to his actual flying lessons. Sam had many tales of adventure with his brothers and parents. It was an adventurous time for an adventurous young man. He caught snapping turtles and fish which he deposited in the sink for his Mom to clean and cook. Of course, once he married Eileen, he cleaned his own fish and turtle soup became a fond memory. He learned to ski in Colorado, taking the train out west with friends. He drove cars delivering them across the U.S and Canada. He hunted and fished and made friends everywhere.

He also loved his nieces and nephews and their expanding families very much. Uncle Don was so proud to talk of them and how sweet they were when they were little children. He was a bachelor for 29 years and his sibling’s children really dazzled him.

Gramma Farley had a huge garden and grew much of the produce for raising her family along with beautiful dahlias, violets and other flowers. Don inherited her green thumb and always had a vegetable garden. It seemed he found a sense of peace growing things.

He was amazing at transplanting trees. I used to help him tend them. Neighbors and friends would stop by to see the big maples he moved to Canal Street and declare that it was a fool’s errand. Daddy would just nod his head and tell me to fill the trench once a day with water. Sure enough, the trees he planted grew tall and healthy. He had a garden up till the last couple years and proudly gave away produce to all of us.

Daddy was a big hunter. He and his very best friend Zeke would head to the UP to the bog hoppers cabin or make a journey out west. They had many happy times and as Gary and Dan became men and Joel joined the family, they included them in their adventures.

Don joined the Navy as soon as he was of age. It was late in the war. Technology was evolving and he was assigned to the top -secret sonar development program. He described attending classes where nothing even the smallest scrap of paper or pencil was not allowed to leave the classroom.

After leaving the Navy, Donald attended General Motors Institute where he graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering. He became a foreman at Pontiac Motor. He advanced quickly and met his soon to be best friend DeVere (Uncle Zeke) Lawrence. Zeke introduced Sam to Eileen Wedhorn a beautiful, young widow with two darling children.

Don was smitten. He married Eileen, Gary 10 and Donna 6 in 1954. The bachelor family moved into Eileen’s home at 526 Canal Street in Milford. They would remain Milford residents for the next 65 years. The family quickly grew with the births of Laurel and Dan. Although he didn’t formally adopt Gary and Donna, he loved them like his own. He taught all of us children that we were fully brothers and sisters in every sense of the word.

When Laurel was born, he quit his job, bought a truck and started Farley Electric Company. He was quite the entrepreneur. Farley Electric evolved into a commercial firm. Sam wired many schools and buildings in the area. When his family wanted a swimming pool, Sam established Sam’s Sporting Goods He became a swimming pool installer and built one for us complete with an air inflated dome to extend the season. Laurel’s birthday parties in March were great fun under the “bubble”.

He put us all to work selling pools and chemicals, guns and ammunition, bicycles and sporting goods. Dan became pool installer; Laurel ran the store and Joel became bicycle repairman. Of course, we all supported each other pitching in where needed. Gary took the reins of the Electric Company when Sam retired at age 55.

Sam built a retirement home and they moved to East Liberty Street. They split their time between Milford and Florida until spring of 2017. They had a home at the Silver Dollar Golf and Shooting Club in Odessa Florida.

Sam became an avid Trap shooting competitor and excellent marksman. He was 200 short of shooting 200,000 birds(clay) in competition when he retired. He and Eileen also became avid golfers. They always packed up for Florida when there was ice on the bird feeder. They made many friends at the Silver Dollar.

He built and moved the family to an “all-electric” home at 906 Canal Street in Milford. He loved technology. We had the first answering machine, electric driveway heaters, the first Amana Radar Range, color TV and computer.

Sam and Eileen’s family grew to 50 members from 1954-through 2019. They welcomed and loved Kay, David, Joel and Grace. They dearly loved each of their 11 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. Their pride in each of us was evident. They taught us to laugh, love and respect one another, embrace friendship, never shy away from a challenge and to celebrate life.

Sam and Eileen loved to dance and to be surrounded by family and friends. They always lived by the work hard, play hard philosophy of life.

He was a man of integrity in every sense of the word. He thrived on a challenge and had a tremendous work ethic. He often would say to us, “don’t say I don’t know, say I’ll find out”. I give him credit for providing the path to success for us all. He was calm in a crisis and quick to forgive. He loved people. He kept his sense of humor throughout his life.

I could go on for pages about life with Sam Farley -love for his extended family of relatives and friends, our fun family vacations, his love of nature and joy of life. There are so many wonderful memories and people who loved and truly respected Donald “Sam” Farley.

If the true measure of a man is his influence on others and their love for him then he definitely measures up. We are all blessed to be his family and will honor his memory forever.


A Funeral Service will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty St., Milford on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 2 PM. Burial Milford Memorial Cemetery. Friends may visit the funeral home on Thursday, January 9 from 3-8 PM or on Friday from 1 PM until the time of the service.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to: National Psoriasis Foundation, 6600 SW 92nd Ave., Ste. 300, Portland, OR 97223-7195 or to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

For further information, phone Lynch & Sons, Milford at 248-684-6645.

Previous Events

Visitation

Thursday

9

Jan

3:00 PM 1/9/2020 3:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 1/9/2020 8:00:00 PM
Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors - Milford

404 E. Liberty Street
Milford, MI 48381

Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors - Milford
404 E. Liberty Street Milford 48381 MI
United States

Service

Friday

10

Jan

2:00 PM 1/10/2020 2:00:00 PM
Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors - Milford

404 E. Liberty Street
Milford, MI 48381

Visitation beginning on Friday at 1 PM

Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors - Milford
404 E. Liberty Street Milford 48381 MI
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Milford Memorial Cemetery Final Resting Place

Atlantic Street
Milford, MI 48381

Atlantic Street Milford 48381 MI
United States
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